Friday, May 13, 2016

I can't finish anything and it's groundhog day

I'm officially giving up on this writing challenge. I made a mediocre effort. Pats self, half-heartedly, on back.

Pat. Pat. Pat.

There was a time, not too long ago that I would have obsessed about not finishing this. I don't finish much, truth be told. It's a character flaw, for sure, but one that I've accepted about myself after this many years circling the sun.

I don't beat myself up about it anymore, well at least not as much as I used to.

I do still lecture myself in the shower, but that's totally normal, right?

Nevermind. Don't answer that.

Anyhow.

This is what mid-life looks like. Side eye and everything.
I saw some friends yesterday for the first time in too long, and it wasn't the kind of get together you actually look forward to. It was more of a "shit, we need to do this grown up stuff, so let's rip the bandaid off together because I've got your back...."

Because being a grown up can suck a nut.

For real.

After hours of doing the things required in grown up land, I got to just sit and talk for a while. The baby was asleep. A friend was still hanging out on my couch. The kids were all gone.

And we mused about mid life.

About how we got here.

Here, the land of groundhog day, where you get up and do the same fucking thing every single day, and you do it for so long that you start to forget a little bit about who you are and what you might like to do and what you might want. You get disconnected from your friends, your spouse, yourself, because you're too busy doing the things that need done.

And don't go lecturing me on the joys of having children or how we're supposed to enjoy everything and appreciate what we have, because that isn't what this is about. We do all those things, and we lose a little bit of ourselves (or a lot of ourselves) along the way.

Then one day, you wake up and you're 40. You don't recognize yourself much anymore, you wonder who this person you've been living with for all these years is. You aren't doing the things you thought you wanted to do, and you don't even know what you want anymore because you have 14 loads of laundry to fold and a floor to mop and a recital to get to.

It happens to most of us, I think, at least in some capacity and to some degree.

Then we wake up one morning, not too long after the holy shit I'm 40 and how did I get here realization, and we wonder why everyone else is happy and we aren't.

Spoiler alert.

No one is.

No one is nearly as happy as they'd like the world to believe. When people gather around the break room lunch table, no one is sharing the story about how they picked up dog shit for 2 hours over the weekend because no one else in the family would do it even though they swore up and down they would because they really really really wanted a dog. No one is talking about how they had to spend 94 minutes tearing apart the house and both cars looking for a rogue shinguard because the kid who loses everything lost everything again even though you told them a million times to put it in the bag and then you argued with your spouse over the damn shinguard too. No one is talking about how they applied for that promotion last week and quietly were passed over for the younger, more peppy asskisser in the office, even though they have way more experience and knowledge.

Nope.

People are raving about the dinner they went out to or how that kid who couldn't find a shinguard scored a goal or how they were able to finally take a vacation with their bonus this year.

People leave out the bad.

We only hear the good.

We live all of it personally, though, so our perspective is skewed.

We think our lives are abysmal failures. We think everyone else is happy.

Social media is the literal worst at perpetuating this.

So we're over here, scrolling through those highly edited posts and pictures of our friends, wondering why we aren't as happy as we feel like we're supposed to be, not doing what we feel like we're supposed to do, watching everyone else appear happy and secure and supported.

It's just all perception.

Not much of it is ever real.

Happiness...it's overrated.

Hear me out.

Happiness is fleeting and temporary. If you could archive your life up to this point and tell me the 5 or 10 things that made you the happiest, I can guarantee you'd give me specific events. Births of your kids, wedding days, graduations, etc. You wouldn't make some claim that the years 2008-2010 were the happiest. Nope. Because life isn't happy. 

Life is mostly monotony, 
occasionally awful,
with moments of glorious happiness.

Hopefully the happy moments outnumber the bad ones.

But this idea that we're supposed to be "happy"? Nah. We aren't doing ourselves any favors by believing it. We should instead strive for content. Okay.

Accept where you are. Accept who you are. If you don't know, figure it out. Figure out who your spouse is now. Realize that what you thought you wanted at 18 might not even be relevant anymore, so you should stop comparing your imagined future self to your actual current self. Realize that all those people our age in those new and fun and exciting relationships might seem happy now, but eventually, the new and shiny will wear off of that too. The new and shiny doesn't last, and if you can't hold it together once you're dull and need polished every so often, another new and shiny version might not work out any better.

This is midlife, you guys.

It's mostly monotony, full of unfinished visions of what we thought we wanted, occasionally awful, with moments of glorious happiness.

If you stop comparing what you have to everyone else, you'd realize it's actually pretty amazing.

Now, get off my lawn.

I've got laundry to fold.

1 comment:

  1. You have hit the nail on the head and made me cry, though I am not sure exactly why.
    Maybe I will figure it out after I run three more errands get the new plants in the ground and spread all of the freaking mulch I bought this morning.

    ReplyDelete

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